In 2013, Friends of Animals established the Wildlife Law Program to fill a niche between animal and environmental activism. Animal activists often fail to fully utilize the array of local, state, federal and international environmental laws as a means to protect the rights of animals to live free from human interference. Environmental activists often utilize these laws, but do so to achieve broad environmental objectives that may not always protect the rights of free-living animals. The mission of the Wildlife Law Project is to utilize the law for a singular purpose: to ensure the right of all wildlife to live in an ecosystem free from human manipulation, exploitation, or abuse.
The Wildlife Law Program focuses on the defense of wildlife and their habitats throughout the world. Attorneys with the Wildlife Law Program utilize a variety of environmental laws to promote the rights of wildlife, including the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and international treaties like the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
“We do not purport to know what is best for any wild animal; we only seek to be a surrogate for these creatures in the human-controlled courtrooms and legislatures around the world where humans too often make horrific judgments about the fate of wild animals.” — Michael Harris, Director Wildlife Law Program